The Banque Nationale pour le Commerce et l’Industrie (BNCI) was the first bank to sponsor the Tour de France. In the middle of the 1950s, a problem arose on the Tour: the Caravan arrives after the bank offices close and leaves before they open. To overcome this break in service, the BNCI embarked on the routes of the sporting event.
This photo from 1955 shows the Tour de France headquarters at its 4th stage in Metz. For its first participation in the Tour de France, the Banque Nationale pour le Commerce et l’Industrie assigned 2 mobile banking vans personalised with its logo and its name. The two vehicles park in a street in METZ, near the Tour headquarters.
The BNCI in the service of the “followers” of the Tour de France
In order to simplify the daily routine of the Tour de France followers – officials, journalists, advertisers, technical directors and racers – the BNCI has established a mobile bank branch system that enables it to provide banking services in each stage town. The principle? Before each stage arrival, the bank employees collect funds from the local office of the BNCI and man their bank counter from 4:30 pm to 8:30 pm. Cashing, payments, currency sales and foreign currency exchanges are some of the many operations they perform for the Tour de France village.
This innovative partnership was an opportunity for the BNCI to associate its image with that of a powerful social event and like this to make itself known with the general public. As such, from 1955 to 1967, the bank was involved with each edition of the Tour de France. And, after a 5 year hiatus, in 1973 the Banque Nationale de Paris (BNP) took its place again as the “Tour Bank.” And it remained the Tour bank until 1987. If the BNP Paribas Group has been associated with Tennis since 1973, the roots of its involvement as a sponsor go farther back.